Hello once again. Shining a light on the 2013 Korean movie “Rockin’ on Heaven’s Door” has been a long time coming. I feel as if this beautiful movie has often been overlooked. Most likely due to its decidedly somber theme.
With that being said, my advise to keep tissues on standby while watching this, should come as no surprise.
Ft. Island’s front man Lee Hong-Ki portrays Choong-Ui, the movie’s main character. Other cast members include Baek Jin-Hee as An-Na, Ma Dong-Seok as Moo-Sung, Lim Won-Hee as Bong-Sik, Jeon Min-Seo as Ha-Eun, No Kang-Min as Him-Chan, and Jeon Soo-Kyeong as Director Nun.
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When popular singer Choong-Ui’s attitude gets him in hot water with the law, his agency is prompt to react. They manage to work out a deal for their artist to only be sentenced to community service.
What better way to do damage control, right?! While their young star practically gets off scot-free, his stint at a hospice care center holds possibilities of being spun into a nice story by their PR team.
Subsequently, Choong-Ui finds himself en route to the designated hospice, located far from the city in a rather rural area. He is to stay at the hospice until he completes his hours of community service. However, if the young man thought that charming his way through this was going to work, he could not have been further from the truth.
He is off to a rocky start with the hospice’s terminally ill residents and fellow caretakers alike. Everyone makes no effort to conceal their disapproval of Choong-Ui’s rude attitude. As a result, his assigned tasks consists of the most taxing and dirty daily chores.
Fortunately, things seem to improve when several residents approach him to help them with a project. They are practicing as a band in hopes of participating in an upcoming audition to win money for the hospice. The hospice has been unable to meet its financial requirements with the existing sponsorship funding. Without new additional funds, their beloved care center will have to close its doors for good.
The band now looks to Choong-Ui for a original song, hoping it will give them a decided edge against other participants at the audition. Initially completely unwilling to help, it is An-Na who eventually persuades the young man. She promises to make sure that any time spent helping them gets added to the total count of his community hours served.
The other members are unaware of the deal An-Na made with Choong-Ui, believing he had a sincere change of heart. Thus they are excited about his participation.
In the days that follow, Choong-Ui inevitably becomes increasingly involved with the residents and their families. Without being aware, witnessing them dealing with the knowledge of their terminal illnesses, slowly begins to change him.
However, it also reveals that Choong-Ui himself carries deep sorrow since his childhood, which he avoided facing up until now. Choosing instead to resort to acting up, getting angry, and keeping people at arms length.
Time spent at the hospice, may surprisingly be just the thing needed for the young star to find himself again. Here, surrounded by people facing their final moments, will Choong-Ui encounter a new beginning?
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Despite its [plentiful] tear inducing moments, “Rockin’ on Heaven’s Door” is a story of hope.